With Birmingham Cocktail Weekend** on the horizon, an invitation popped up in my inbox recently that got me rather excited. Did I want to come to an event at Jekyl & Hyde to meet the Edinburgh Gin team and create my own gin? Errr, damn right I did! As anyone who follows my ramblings will know, I love gin. I loved gin before it was cool to and when only grannies with blue rinses liked the tipple. I like gin in all shapes, forms and flavours, I really don’t discriminate.. (unless it’s Beefeater. That can go and play on the motorway). Honestly, I’d pour gin on my cornflakes if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m a mostly functioning adult – basically this invite-only event was right up my street.
I was one of a small number of guests invited to the event, which started off with a quick Espresso Martini at Hotel du Vin with the weekend’s headline sponsor: Courvoisier. Soon after we headed over to the Jekyll & Hyde (part of the Bitters ‘n Twisted family) to create our very own bespoke gin. I’m a fan of this boozer, although admittedly I don’t really spend much time there as it’s a bit out of the way of my usual watering holes. And it doesn’t open on a Sunday which, controversially, is my favourite day to go out. That said, I’ve enjoyed many a G&T in the upstairs Dr. Jekyll’s Gin Parlour and I like the place’s old school Victorian-style charm, so I was more than happy to be back in its bosom again.
On arrival we were taken out to the colourful courtyard and discovered our own private gin distillery waiting for us. An array of copper stills and measuring jugs adorned the blue and white gingham covered tables, and I was given a sweet little number called John Silver’s Bounty (the £4 cocktail offered by Jekyll & Hyde during BCW2017) to get started with. After a few G&Ts and some fabulous finger food courtesy of J&H (the guinea foul drumsticks with pistachios were insanely good!) we took our seats and chose our flavourings for our personalised gin.
After a good sniff I chose caraway seeds, grapefruit and white mulberries, and set about trying to use my distillery equipment. Due to some electricity issues on our table, I didn’t manage to actually get more than a few drops on the night, but it was great to learn about the gin making process. Fun fact: did you know to be a gin the spirit must be both above 37.5 AVB and the overriding product must be juniper? I was given a few other nuggets of info but I was quite smashed by that point; sorry gin fans *lol at self*
While waiting for our personalised gins to distil (nailing the lingo, me) we enjoyed a mini masterclass with the Edinburgh Gin team, and sampled some of the range alone and in cocktails; the Cannonball Gimlet – 50% proof rocket fuel, that – was an absolute treat. Full disclosure: I’m already a massive fan of the EG products, having been gifted several bottles for my birthday earlier this year, so I was familiar with some of the concoctions already. The Rhubarb and Ginger Liqueur specifically is an absolute dream in my book; tangy rhubarb, a warm ginger hum and a delicate pop of fragrant lemon are combined to form this beautiful rose-pink liquid. It also tastes a lot like the 90’s dream that was Fruit Salad chews (new happiness level unlocked) as I told anyone who would listen, and it’s also ruddy lovely splashed in fizz. *You’re welcome!*
Distilled in small batches in the heart of Scotland (see, I do listen!) our host explained how EG produces innovative gins in Edinburgh for the likes of Selfridges and John Lewis. Now offering a diverse range, the ethos of this growing company seems to be merging a modern-day gin experience with traditional distillery methods and – judging by the awards – they seem to be nailing it. It was great to hear the guys speak with such passion about the brand, and learn more about the distilling process. It was also rather wonderful to try so many lovely gins, although I didn’t feel quite so lovely the next morning. #hotmess
A fun and educational evening to kick start a wonderful Birmingham Cocktail Weekend, I’ve now decided that when I grow up I want to be a Gin Distiller, so expect a Crowd Funding page imminently. Joking…
Thanks to Claire too for hand delivering my personalised gin a week later – I can’t wait to see if my creation lives up the botanical joy of EG!
Jekyl & Hyde, 28 Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham, B4 6BJ
*Disclosure: I was invited to The Gin Lab event as a guest of Edinburgh Gin and East Village PR; all drinks were complementary. I wasn’t obliged to write a review of the event but I had such a lovely time I wanted to share my experience (and over enthusiastic love of Mother’s Ruin) with the world*
**In its second year, Birmingham’s Cocktail Weekend is an annual three-day event and took place in over 30 bars and pubs across the city centre this year. With a special wristband, guests could enjoy a signature £4 cocktail from the venues taking part.